Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Kitchen Cabinet Resurfacing with MDF

by Kelly Richardson
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

What's cheaper than real wood, resists splitting and chipping, and takes a coat of your favorite color paint flawlessly? Medium-density Fiberboard, or MDF, is one of the ‘go-to’ kitchen cabinet resurfacing materials for homeowners working with a budget.

A variety of words come to mind when considering MDF as a resurfacing material for your kitchen cabinets: environmentally-friendly, inexpensive, durable. In fact, MDF has replaced particleboard as the favorite discount cabinet material for homeowners wanting to save money without compromising quality. MDF is a wood based composite that is comprised primarily of softwood that has been broken down into wood fibers.

MDF Characteristics. Kitchen cabinet resurfacing materials have improved with technology. MDF is no exception. Here are the finer points.
  • Recycled. MDF resurfacing material can be made from wood scraps, recycled paper, steel, bamboo, carbon fibers/polymers, and glass.
  • Treatments. To give MDF added strength in your kitchen, the manufacturing process includes pressing and lamination at high temperatures.
  • Options. MDF comes in fire-retardant, moisture-resistant, and lightweight versions that are color coded based on the way they perform in your kitchen.
So What’s the Catch? MDF is much heavier than other kitchen cabinet resurfacing materials. Also, it will require painting, which is sometimes more work than desired. And finally, MDF will warp or bubble if it’s not sealed properly. Be aware that paying sharply discounted prices for MDF that hasn’t been properly sealed will come back to haunt you in your kitchen.Before resurfacing your kitchen cabinets, drop into your local home and garden center and check out their line of MDF doors.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson covers the home improvement scene in between his seasonal projects. His articles appear wherever intelligent interior design is valued.

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